December 14, 2004
Will the Government Seize Assets?
According to today's Wall Street Journal article titled, Rigas Cable Assets Run By Adelphia May Be Seized, we see the government taking a first step to obtaining assets in a case. The government has asked a federal court "to enter a judgment of $2.53 billion against two members of Adelphia's founding Rigas family, who were convicted in July on fraud and conspiracy counts." To make matters worse, "the Securities and Exchange Commission has filed a lawsuit against Adelphia and the Rigases, charging fraud and self-dealing and seeking to recover 'all ill-gotten gains.'" But as the Wall Street Journal article notes, the government may wait to see if the assets are sold at an auction. It is easier for the government if they obtain cash then a business, so as not to be placed in the position of having to run or maintain the business.
What is happening in this case stresses the need for defense counsel to approach white collar crime cases from a global perspective. One has to consider all the collateral consequences to a client and their company throughout the representation. In the Rigas cases we see the possibly of assets being seized. This is only a small segment of what can occur in a white collar case. Other factors that one may be dealing with, in addition to criminal charges, are license forfeiture or debarment from doing future business with the government. Additionally, one may be dealing with several different government agencies such as the SEC and IRS, in addition to handling the criminal matter.